Mercedes Lackey is an author that has always been a daunting undertaking in my mind- she has so many books, so many different series, and so many fans. I’ve been putting off reading any of her books for probably a decade, and I knew that someday I would regret it. Today is that day.
I just finished her novel Arrows of the Queen, the first in the series Heralds of Valdemar. The reason I put aside my decade-long hesitation is a strange one: I’m trying to cull my personal library and I had the second book in that series and I hadn’t read it yet. I don’t think it’s fair to books to not read them before I get rid of them, so I got the first book from the library and dug into it after a week or so of putting it off.
The book opens up on the central character of the book, Talia, as she’s doing her chores and reading a book. We soon discover that she’s a child that isn’t well liked in her family, they begrudgingly put up with her reading (most women don’t know how to read, so having someone that can is sort of beneficial), and they’re eager to push her off on some man to make her a bride, at 13 years old. After she has a meeting with her father’s first wife and a few of his other wives where she’s told that she’s to be married, she runs away and hides until a horse discovers her. This is no ordinary horse, however. This is a Companion to a Herald. She thinks by going with him that she’s returning him to his owner but soon finds out when they arrive at the Collegium that she is, in fact, his new owner.
This discovery starts a beautiful fantasy novel that has almost everything in the genre that I adore. I say ‘almost’ because a little more romance wouldn’t have hurt, but I have a few more books to go, so I can wait! Talia is a wonderfully troubled and thoughtful character, and the people that come into her life are interesting in various ways. There’s not much world-building in the first book, but I believe that the world will expand in future novels. The ideas of Heralds, magic, personal and mental bonds, and kingdoms were new and interesting and kept me coming back for more.
I highly recommend this book if you like the sort of fantasy that covers chivalry and nobility and woman power. I’ve already grabbed the second book!